Minister O’Connor’s update on dry conditions

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/govt-closely-watching-dry-conditions

Published on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Farmers and growers in very dry regions around the country are urged to make plans to get through a summer that has turned hot and dry sooner than usual.

Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor said today that the latest information from NIWA and industry bodies makes it clear that while farmers are generally coping through this early dry spell, rain over the next few weeks cannot be relied upon.

“It could go either way,” says Mr O’Connor.

“It is still early in the summer and a few good rainfalls could change the picture. On the other hand – patchy rain not hitting the right spots could mean the situation becomes more serious.”

Areas of concern are coastal areas from Taranaki southwards, and the rest of the lower North Island below a line from Mangamahu, Hunterville and Apiti. On the other side of the ranges, Tararua and parts of Wairarapa are also under pressure. Parts of the South Island are also showing as increasingly dry.

“We are getting the best weather forecasting available and clear daily information about the level of dryness across the country from NIWA’s NZ Drought Index, but there’s no crystal ball.”

“Our farmers know that while hoping for the best, they need to plan for the worst.”

This dry spell is up to two months earlier than usual, and farmers would usually be in a better position to make plans about scaling down operations to get through.

“It’s early but experience and evidence shows that our farmers who make and stick to a plan to manage through drought are the ones who come out the other side in a better position to recover and move forward,” says Mr O’Connor. “It takes courage to make these difficult choices.”

“We know that these conditions can cause a lot of stress, compounded by the winter and spring conditions, and low morale. Our Rural Support Trusts are on the ground for us and keeping information flowing. Industry bodies are working with MPI and making sure our farmers have the technical knowledge to make their decisions.”

Mr O’Connor says that in the worst-case scenario, criteria for a medium-scale event could be met as early as January. A medium-scale event classification is based not just on soil moisture, but also on a rural community’s capacity to cope. It triggers additional Government recovery assistance measures such as further funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide events, technical transfer, and Rural Assistance Payments in rare cases of extreme hardship.

In the meantime, Government help is available as to all New Zealanders who face financial difficulty, such as Work and Income support should there be a significant change in family income. 

“I know the festive season is as busy as any other on the farm and wish our farmers and growers a Merry Christmas,” says Mr O’Connor.

 

Questions and answers

What is NIWA’s outlook?

Dr Andrew Tait of NIWA says the lack of rain is being exacerbated by extremely warm sea surfaces around New Zealand, driving high air temperatures and leading to very high rates of evapotranspiration – up to 5mm or 6mm a day in some locations. This means any benefits of a rainy day can quickly disappear, and significant rainfall will be needed to get back to a normal summer situation.

How is the Ministry for Primary Industries monitoring the situation?

MPI is monitoring conditions daily at both a regional and national level. For example, the Manawatu-Whanganui (Horizons Region) Rural Coordination Group – Rural Support Trusts, Ministry for Primary Industries, Civil Defence Emergency Management and representatives from Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, and Fonterra – met yesterday to identify the status and required planning.  

Where can farmers go for support?

Farmers are encouraged to use all information available from NIWA, government and industry bodies, and to use their Rural Support Trusts if they have concerns about the wellbeing of any family member, friend, worker or neighbour.

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News & Alerts

Next SRST Meeting

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Author: SuperUser Account

Next meeting of the Southland Rural Support Trust -

General Meeting

Location:  FF Building, Invercargill

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Time:

Trustees Only: 10am

Facilitators and Key Partners: 11am

Stakeholders: 1.00pm

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Categories: Southland

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Flooding watch in north island

24 December 2018 10am

Monday, December 24, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

Monday 10am: Heavy rain for Northland, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne from Tolaga Bay northwards.

Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.

Before severe rain

· Keep an eye on weather reports and enact your plans for moving stock and supplementary feed to higher ground if needed.

· Clear gutters and drains where possible

· Have to hand a smartphone, a charger for the car, a torch, and a battery-powered radio

· Check your insurance cover details

 

During a flood or storm

· Keep an eye on https://www.civildefence.govt.nz/ and your regional council websites/facebook or radio station

· The safety of you, your family, and workers comes first.

· Move stock to safety, shelter and water and make sure they can't wander. Are the electric fences working?

· Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities as it can help prevent damage to your home or community. Unplug small appliances to avoid damage from power surges.

· Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless essential.

· Check power and phones. Report outages.

· Check dogs, poultry and pets.

· Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?

· Check buildings at risk, feed stacks. · Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention. 

 

Further information:

https://www.dairynz.co.nz/business/adverse-events/flood/

https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/topics/flooding

MPI Animal welfare 

 

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Flooding watch in north island

24 December 2018 10am

Monday, December 24, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

Monday 10am: Heavy rain for Northland, Coromandel Peninsula, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne from Tolaga Bay northwards.

Heavy rain may cause streams and rivers to rise rapidly. Surface flooding and slips are also possible and driving conditions may be hazardous.

Before severe rain

· Keep an eye on weather reports and enact your plans for moving stock and supplementary feed to higher ground if needed.

· Clear gutters and drains where possible

· Have to hand a smartphone, a charger for the car, a torch, and a battery-powered radio

· Check your insurance cover details

 

During a flood or storm

· Keep an eye on https://www.civildefence.govt.nz/ and your regional council websites/facebook or radio station

· The safety of you, your family, and workers comes first.

· Move stock to safety, shelter and water and make sure they can't wander. Are the electric fences working?

· Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities as it can help prevent damage to your home or community. Unplug small appliances to avoid damage from power surges.

· Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters unless essential.

· Check power and phones. Report outages.

· Check dogs, poultry and pets.

· Check on neighbours - do they need help or can they help you?

· Check buildings at risk, feed stacks. · Use generators if necessary to keep pumps, refrigeration, electric fences and household appliances running. Flood pumps may need attention. 

 

Further information:

https://www.dairynz.co.nz/business/adverse-events/flood/

https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/topics/flooding

MPI Animal welfare 

 

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Number of views (255)

Dairy NZ flood information

for Otago and Southland

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

DairyNZ

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Categories: National, Otago, Southland

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